Opposition Deliver Reply To The 2019/20 Budget

March 1, 2019 | 21 Comments

“Immigration could become Bermuda’s Brexit – causing uncertainty in business and splitting a country unless a strong leader emerges to tackle the issue and unite divided sides.”

That was one of the key messages in the One Bermuda Alliance Reply to the Budget, which also highlighted the “gross mismanagement of the economy by the PLP, which took the Island from being a land of plenty to a land saddled with massive debt,” the party said.

“Is immigration Bermuda’s Brexit? Brexit has divided a country, divided political parties and is driving business from Britain’s shores as economists are predicting a Brexit recession,” said Pat Gordon-Pamplin, the OBA’s Finance spokesperson in the House.

She added: “It is well known that members of this Government are stating in meetings with International Business that they recognize the need for increased immigration. This is in stark contrast to much of their public political messaging.

“Like Brexit, will immigration split a political party? Unlike in the UK, will a leader emerge in this Government to unite the country around this issue in the name of prosperity?

“The fundamental inhibitors to growth remain the same as from the OBA’s time in Government. A clear and welcoming immigration policy is needed to ensure that we can attract the global expertise and capital needed to grow our stagnant economy and drastically increase our working population.

“Furthermore, it is essential that we address the exodus of long-term contributors to our economy.”

Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “This is a pivotal moment in Bermuda’s history and this issue cannot be avoided any more as it is presently being subjected to a slow death by committee. The Premier purports to be able to pass Immigration Reform because he feels he has the people’s trust. The OBA welcomes him to move ahead.”

The Budget reply outlined several key issues that the OBA would address, including:

Increasing the amount of capital to invest in the local economy – helping entrepreneurs struggling to find financing through banks.

“There are many people that have been employed and live in Bermuda for over a decade. Their link to Bermuda is strong, however they are forced to keep one eye on the door and accordingly will invest their savings overseas, usually in the form of the purchase of a home,” said Ms Gordon-Pamplin.

“At some point we must allow workers and their children, who have an extended period of employment or residence in Bermuda, the ability to fully formalize their relationship with Bermuda through some form of Pathway to Status mechanism.

“Not only will this help anchor the key value creators who have already passed through various rounds of work permit control to fully commit to Bermuda, but it will also provide the incentive to direct their savings towards investing in Bermuda instead of whence they came.”

Changing the way Government services are delivered.

“The OBA supports the Premier’s belief that privatization of certain Government services would inject “much needed innovation” into the economy. In his first Budget Reply as Junior Finance Minister in 2011, now Premier Burt told the Senate that candidates to privatization should include public transport, postal services, waste collection, waste treatment, water and recycling.

“Premier Burt also said that he believes that “governments are not known to be the most efficient organisations”. He went on to say that “the new entities will have a stable income stream that will allow them to expand and reinvest, thereby creating additional employment in our economy”.

“For whatever reason, that support changed to opposition of the idea when Minister Richards sought to move forward ‘mutualisation’. We can only assume that the Premier was opposing the messenger for the sake of opposing instead of engaging with the idea and the process.

“Now is the time to deliver on ideas that are good for Bermuda.

“The OBA will not oppose this process just because the Government gets the credit. We believe that there is common ground to be had here and would welcome progress on this much needed shift in delivery of public services.”

Creating an Independent Education Authority

Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “We believe that consistent and increased accountability as well as removing the mid-term changes in direction caused by political cycles are integral to improving the outcomes.

“We therefore repeat our support for the transition of the management in education from the convoluted array of Minister, Permanent Secretary, Commissioner, Department and Board that presently oversees our public education system with an Independent Education Authority.

“Education needs to prepare Bermuda for our current and future economy. Mr. Speaker, how are Bermudians going to benefit from employment with the global players on our shores when only 60% of graduates are earning an internationally recognized credential upon graduation?”

Aiding business development

“The OBA believes we should continue to support our business development agencies’ efforts to create an environment that is attractive to foreign investors that will grow our existing industries or develop new industries that will diversify our economy and mitigate our exposure to external shocks,” Ms Gordon-Pamplin told the House.

“New hotel development is one such example of the OBA’s competence in resolving long-standing problems. FinTech is one such example where a regulatory framework reflective of innovators needs could lead to new industries developing in Bermuda.

“We see the merit in advancing legislation to that end, although it should not be seen as the only path to diversification.

“Our business development groups must be allowed to do their job promoting Bermuda as a welcoming jurisdiction that is open for business. Growing our economy should not be myopic in its focus and Ministers should provide oversight, but not interfere.

“Undermining the independence of the Gaming Commission, for example, has effectively killed any hopes of the industry getting banking approval.”

The reply to the Budget also highlighted the path Bermuda has taken from a country of plenty, from 2001 to 2008, to a country saddled with massive debt.

Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “During each of the seven years of plenty, Bermuda was in an ideal situation benefitting from increasing GDP and Government revenue. Despite this excellent economic context, the Government’s operational [current account] spending outgrew the yearly increases in revenue.

“The real damage was done due to uncontrolled capital expenditure and an addiction to borrowing to pay for this appalling fiscal mismanagement.

“The PLP did the exact opposite of best practice. Capital expenditures grew along with the yearly deficits as did the incessant borrowing and related interest costs on the debt. From 2001/02 to 2007/08, Government revenues grew each year by 6.8% on average, however the public debt grew by 116%, from $128m to $277m.

“Seven years of plenty were followed by seven years of famine and 2009/10 was a particularly bad year as the public debt doubled in one single year from $335m to $666m. During the seven years of famine, our debt grew by 512%, or six-fold, from $335m to $2.050bn.

“The preceding examples are highlighted not just to cast blame, albeit well deserved, but so as to frame the realities of that time as the debt created from the mismanagement of projects and operational overspending under the last PLP administration continues to haunt us to this day.”

The full OBA Reply to 2019 Budget follows below [PDF here]:

click here Bermuda 2019 budget

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Comments (21)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    The explanation of how we arrived in this fiscal hole is extremely well written. It’s sad that none of the base will take time to read it.

  2. How can the Opposition REPLY to the current budget when the Opposition has not replied to Pamplin and Sylvan Richards spent taxpayers monies JUST to attend the Rio Olympics??
    How on earth can the Opposition expect anything from P.L.P. when they introduced SAME-SEX MARRIAGE to Bermuda with NO CONSULT with the Bermuda populous??
    THAT WAS most NON-DEMOCRATIC.
    How can the vicious OBA expect anything when A.C.B. was put in place for the increase in wealth for its own people??
    Rather sad for the O.B.A. actually!!

    • Rocky5 says:

      You really sweat the small stuff!! How about the PLP – $1.2 MILLION given to Dr. Brown, how about the MONEY MP Zane DeSilva made off Port Royal Golf Course, How about MIILIONS paid to Global Hue, the MILLIONS wasted with Pro-Active at Berkeley, $85 MILLION on Dame Louis Brown Bldg. and $347 MILLION to build a useless new Hospital costing $900 MILLION more with 30 Year Foreign control, Sandy’s 360 – more MILLIONS wasted & squandered, PLP New Airport was going to be $500 MILLION – TWICE what OBA negotiated. No new hotels under PLP, Fintech is a joke, Gambling has stalled under PLP, Buses & trash collection, roads & hedges are pathetic under PLP. PLP are now going to destroy Hamilton & St. Georges, just like they have the rest of Bermuda.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      We’re still waiting for your reply on the PLP Jetgate too .

      • newperspective says:

        Why? If, you’re referring to the OBA jet-gate problem, we already know the OBA used the $300k donation as a slush fund to oust a sitting premier and finance minister!

        • Sandgrownan says:

          Lol.. global hue…

        • Toodle-oo says:

          It was no error that I said the PLP jetgate . I guess you missed the expose that ran in a now defunct media outlet in 2014 ?
          And if you don’t know what I’m referring to when I say the real PLP jetgate you must be even more poorly read than I thought.

          • newperspective says:

            Not, really. But you obviously, conveniently, are trying to have your supporters focus on the PLP. The OBA actually got $300k. I don’t recall PLP getting any cash. Enlighten me, if you’re that well read, on who much they got out of their jetgate trip.

        • sandgrownan says:

          Hey numb nuts…how about this nugget:

          Seven years of plenty were followed by seven years of famine. Despite moderate Government revenue growth in 2008/09, the out of control spending outpaced even growth that year causing an operational decit (current account shortfall) of $14M. The full decit was $241M that year, but we’ll explore why later. There was no rainy day fund as there hadn’t been a surplus since 2003 and it was impossible to slam the brakes on Government spending without casting hundreds of people into the streets. Desperate for revenue, in 2010, the PLP hit the business community with a 15% increase in payroll tax without any consultation. This surprise increase to the cost of business in Bermuda was a breach of trust between the Government and IB and accelerated the on-shoring of back oce functions. In fact, in the two years following this move, 1,550 work permit workers left our shores and another 1,250 locals lost their jobs

          • newperspective says:

            You obviously don’t like my perspective!! That’s fine, I’m not in this world to meet your expectation, or you mind, for that matter. But if we ever happen to agree, then that will be okay with me.

            You, no doubt, didn’t care when GDP doubled during those 7 good years, or did you?

        • Question says:

          How does a slush fund oust a premier, exactly?

          • newperspective says:

            Ask your Leader, Cannonier. His business manager/partner bragged about the stealth maneuvers/tactics they used to make it happen. You know who he is, he was interviewed by then Bermuda Sun reporter. And also admitted being handsomely rewarded. I guess he got a piece of the $300k for his involvement.

            The then OBA Party Chair resigned because of what he saw as a result of his initial investigation.

            People in glass houses should not throw stones!!

    • Sara says:

      Your reply is actually quite funny as nothing you wrote that the OBA did is actually close to being shady compared with all of the ***t the PLP has done. I mean not even close lol. If you only knew how weak your argument sounded. I can’t believe people support was the PLP is doing right now. Unbelievable and almost twilight zone.

    • sandgrownan says:

      “If debt had not been racked up unnecessarily during years of tragic mismanagement, we would now be able to spend almost double what we presently spend on education, for example. Or we could have paid for the hospital AND the airport in cash without needing to go to foreign investors.”

      LOL

  3. “We don’t need anymore foreigners, ” is an often repeated saying amongst Bermudians . But it is said with out knowledge of how our economy really works .About a 1/3 of our work force is made up of foreigners . It is sentimental to say that we ought not allow in anymore foreign workers until every Bermudian who wants to work has a job . It would be a long time coming before that happens .The issue is immigration . Can we allow people into Bermuda without them claiming status ? Here in lies the rough of our argument .Until than we will remain a one oar boat . Anyone dizzy yet ?

    • Ringmaster says:

      A one oar boat will go in circles. Bermuda is a boat with no oars but a slow leak that will sink the boat unless stopped getting bigger and is plugged. Unfortunately the PLP have so brain washed their followers that immigration is bad they can’t now support the idea of more expats. Funny though that should Fintech begin to grow, most employees will be expats, so the Cabinet presumably does support immigration.
      Status is the cost to have Bermuda and Bermudians prosper.

    • Serious Though says:

      Bermuda economy relies on IB ,the foreigners are part of the Bermuda fabric. At this time Bermuda does not a choice, it’s one of the biggest oxygen tank that powers Mr and Mrs Bermuda. Bermuda need to innovate in other industries to power its 21st economy

  4. Tricia Thompson-Browne says:

    Foreigners or not, foreign currency is the key. No-one is going far on Bermuda dollars, nor will they pay for imported food or the Oleander to bring it in. Somebody needs to explain to those who can’t or don’t want to understand. Or just wait – all become clear !

    I would like to compliment whoever wrote this Reply to the Budget. It’s very good reading, for a financial document, and even though I don’t always understand all the financial parts, it’s been written to be as plain as possible without being elementary. So whoever it was, or more than one, well done lads and lasses. (I am guessing Nick Kempe, Bob Richards, Patricia Pamplin-Gordon!!)

  5. Geographica says:

    People still droning on about the need for more foreigners in Bermuda. Where exactly will they work? Not one of the largest 10 companies in international business sector, nor the largest 10 purely local companies are hiring right now!! When was the last time you saw ads or listings for large numbers of jobs openings from HSBC, ACE-AXA, Chubb-Ace, Butterfield, AIG, …or from the likes of Market Place, Fairmont, Butterfield and Vallis, The Bermuda Govt, Gibbons Co., or Dunkley, or BGA. No one need to hire, only to replace retirees, diabled. What is wrong with you people? Every night I have to listen to the dribble that we need more “foreigners”. WE DO Not!, Because there are no new Jobs being created in Bermuda! Last year Bermuda created all of 50 jobs!!! Do we need to advertise in Madrid or NYC to fill those….most likely not.

    The problem in Bermuda is this: A very ill informed populace. Why are the public so ill informed? Because thousands of Bermudian make a living Renting Apartments! Like in France before eat revolution, you will find that the main actors in a Rentier economy or both dumb and clueless to what is really going on in the economy or the society. Landlords make money for renting a house or apartment that their daddy left them, or their granny….they do not have a clue what is going on in the banks, or at the big insurance companies or in the law firms….thjey are clueless! I will tell you what is going on…cause I work in international business: NOTHING! We have the same amount of business that we had 10 years ago…no less, and certainly no more! Sorry to burst your bubble and ruin your dream of more rents for your lazy families to spend, but we are not hiring!!

  6. A little wisdom says:

    Points of information, facts that are not noted or generally known:-

    1) the House of Assembly has been majority black since 1980. So who are the ones who determine what legislation passes. Who therefore making the laws.

    2) since 1980 the (so called party) UBP/OBA has put forward slates of candidates that were at least 50% black. This represents a more balanced slate representing the make-up of Bermuda. So where is this white party.

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